Keeping people and business SAFE and SECURE

    There are many definitions of the word surveillance. My definition of surveillance is quite specialised:

     “The deployment of a team of trained operatives, with their vehicles,  to covertly observe a person, object or location, with the aim of gathering intelligence or evidence, to meet clearly defined objectives”.

    During their careers, some lawyers, managers and investigators, who have little or no surveillance experience, could be expected to organise or manage a covert surveillance operation to further an important investigation, for which they are responsible.

    Within the world of business and commerce, a surveillance operation is often necessary as part of a Theft investigation, Human Resource investigation, insurance investigation, fraud investigation, due diligence enquiry or civil dispute.

    Considering a surveillance operation from a surveillance service provider

    Careful Consideration

    Surveillance can be a very powerful investigative tool, but it can occasionally prove to be an expensive or risky resource. This means that a surveillance team should never be deployed without careful consideration and adequate planning.

    Also, it is very important that a reputable and professional company is employed. This is critical if a case is likely to end in court or at tribunal. However, if you have never tasked surveillance before, what do you need to look for from the service provider and what will they need from you.

    Above all else, a company offering surveillance services must abide by the law. Post LEVESON, there is much more scrutiny surrounding the gathering of information or evidence. Getting it wrong can be embarrassing and sometimes costly.

    Our best piece of advice is that a professional surveillance company, adept at gathering and presenting surveillance evidence for the UK courts, will usually seek to mirror the ‘spirit’ of RIPA or RIP(S)A legislation. These are the acts which govern surveillance conducted by Public Authorities.

    Offering a surveillance service and acting within the law at all times

    Acting within the law

    RIPA and RIP(S)A distinguish between intrusive and directed surveillance, define private or confidential information, protect against collateral intrusion and champion necessity and proportionality. If a company can demonstrate a good understanding of this legislation, (even though they are not legally bound by it), then it is very likely that they will seek to operate both legally and ethically.

    More general laws such as trespass, harassment, Data Protection and GDPR also need to be considered during a corporate surveillance operation and the buyer should always ensure that a service provider has the relevant policies in place.

    Preparation for a surveillance operation should always include a full risk assessment. In addition, a Privacy Impact Assessment, including the risk of collateral intrusion, should be completed. Briefing sheets, including photographs, should be retained for disclosure as unused material, with any other supporting documentation. All surveillance evidence should be gathered, handled and stored according to Law Enforcement best practice. This will ensure that the surveillance evidence is not open to question at a later date.

    Trusting your surveillance team for all your corporate and business security and surveillance

    Trust on Both Sides is Crucial

    A good surveillance provider will never deploy a team without knowing exactly why they are being tasked. The best providers will often refuse a tasking, if they don’t feel that the operation is necessary or proportionate. Trust on both sides is crucial. The more that a surveillance team knows, the more they will understand and the more effective they will be.

    You should always try to work with the service provider to ensure that the surveillance operation is given the best chance of success.

    A good surveillance service provider will always ask for the following information before they deploy a team:

    • Surveillance objectives – exactly what are we trying to achieve?
    • Full Name and Date of Birth of the Subject(s) of the surveillance
    • Home Address
    • Work or Office Address
    • Vehicle details
    • Recent photograph of the Subject of surveillance and a full description.
    • Details of family and associates if relevant
    • Open source research from Social Media and internet
    • The likelihood that the Subject has been followed before or whether they might suspect that they could be under investigation

    The best way of assessing the ability of a company to handle your surveillance operation is to understand their background, client base and ask them to explain some recent case studies. In addition, it is important to ask about company accreditation. There are no recognised industry standards for surveillance and the only regulation is based around some general legislation like GDPR or DPA. This is why some of the better companies work to the standards set within accreditation that was not originally intended for surveillance companies. The accreditation that reputable companies will hold might include the following:

    • Industry Bodies – Many investigators are members of Industry bodies such as The Association of British Investigators (ABI). These bodies expect certain standards from their members and most will conduct due diligence.
    • BS 10200:2018 – Code of practice for the provision of investigative services
      For the following scope: The conduct, management, staffing and operational accountability for the provision of investigative services in the following areas:
      Surveillance (observation – static, mobile, photography), Litigation Support (collecting, preserving and / or presenting evidence).
      Assessed annually by a recognised examining body.
    • BS 7858:2019 – Security screening of individuals employed in a security environment.
      For the following scope: For the security screening of individuals employed in the Security Industry.
      Assessed annually by a recognised examining body.
    • ISO 9001:2015 – Quality Management Systems
      For the following scope: Quality Management Systems incorporating investigative services, vetting and screening.
      Assessed annually by a recognised examining body.
    Steve Rogers is a specialist surveillance service provider

    If you have a problem that needs to be investigated, sometimes surveillance can provide a solution. We are always happy to discuss a scenario or situation completely free of charge and in total confidence.  Please call us and we will be delighted to arrange a free no-obligation meeting.

    We also offer an online surveillance appreciation course to help those who have the responsibility of tasking and managing surveillance operations.

    Stephen ROGERS
    Managing Director, Antevorte Ltd
    March 2021



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